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PFF: Tyrod was a top-10 QB as a starter in Buffalo

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Seatle Seahawks v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

With head coach Anthony Lynn recently giving Tyrod Taylor his blessing to be a front-runner in the race for the starting quarterback job, it’s time to start getting serious about whether or not Taylor has the right stuff to get the job done in LA.

Lynn’s remark were rightfully met with skepticism. After all, Taylor’s last game as a starter in the NFL was against the Jets in 2018 when he was famously benched in favor of that year’s #1-overall pick, Baker Mayfield. Taylor never got his job back in Cleveland and that led the former Hokie to sign a two-year deal with the Chargers prior to the 2019 season.

To be honest, it should come as a surprise that the team is taking a rightfully look at Taylor. They signed him to a two-year deal for a reason. They knew there was a good to great chance that Rivers was gone after the season. Now that Rivers’ time is done, the Chargers are now in a tricky situation where they need a quarterback of the future while simultaneously needed some other important position, such as offensive tackle and cornerback. The difference between corner and tackle as opposed to quarterback is that the Chargers already have someone who could very well, at the minimum, do no worse than Rivers did in his final season with the team.

The cornerback room has a second-round in Casey Hayward and a fifth-round pick in Desmond King as their leaders. The rest of the group is made up of a pair of former undrafted free agents in Michael Davis and Brandon Facyson. The team does enlist Jaylen Watkins, but he has been used solely as a pure slot corner or extra safety in certain packages. They need an upgrade at outside corner to pair with Hayward for the last few years of his prime.

When looking at this group of offensive tackles, it’s not much better. Russell Okung, a former first-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, is the fifth-highest paid offensive tackle in the NFL. The rest of the tackle group includes a former sixth-round pick in Sam Tevi, Trey Pipkins, a Division II player selected in the third round last year, and Trent Scott, a former undrafted player out of HBCU Grambling State.

I fully believe those two positions need to be addressed before anything else unless there is an absolute can’t-miss quarterback on the board. I just don’t think that is Justin Herbert, and definitely not Jordan Love.

So we have a safe, but not sexy, pick in Tyrod Taylor. As the title suggests, Pro Football Focus just published an article focusing on Taylor’s time with the Buffalo Bills from 2015-2017 where he was graded as the 9th-best quarterback in the NFL during that span with an overall grade of 82.3.

During those three years, Taylor boasted a 55-33 big-time throw / turnover-worthy throw ratio which was 4th-best during that span. For context, the rough definition of a “big-time” throw is a throw that is pushed down the field further or fit into a tighter window than a normal NFL throw. The definition of a “turnover-worthy” throw is roughly the same but with the opposite outcome - it’s picked off, should’ve been picked off, or batted down.

The most notable nugget of information I found in PFF’s article is that in 2019 alone, Rivers had one less turnover-worthy throw than Taylor did in that three year span in Buffalo (32 to 33).

Yes, he’s not the biggest splash at the position. Yes, he isn’t the most productive thrower of all time. But dang it, he gets the job done. Limiting the interceptions in 2019 would’ve single-handedly changed the outcome of the season. Less turnovers in the end zone? Great. Less throws that were obviously predated with a prayer? Also great.

I know the idea of a shiny, new rookie behind center sounds cool, but don’t let it encompass your entire view of this team. Plenty of other instant-impact players that will be there at #6.